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represented as falling upon the earth or Roman empire, typifies that grand compound irruption of the barbarous northern nations, from the effects of which the Roman empire never recovered itself, as it had done from those of the foregoing irruptions. In the natural world a storm is frequently preceded by a calm : hence in the figurative world the great hail-storm mingled with lightning is represented as being preceded by silencc.
This silence however is not so deep, but that the latter part of it is interrupted both by thunderings, and lightnings, and an earthquake,* the immediate harbingers of the hail-storm. Accordingly we find, that the fierce Gothic tribes though perpetually at war with the Romans, and though threatening to overwhelm them by repeatedly violating the long extent of the northern frontier, were for a time restrained by the genius of Theodosius :t but, upon the decease of this great prince in the year 395, the northern cloud, which had so long been gathering, discharged itself with irresistible fury upon the Empire. “He died in the month of January; and before the end of the same year the Gothic nation was in arms—The barriers of the Danube were thrown open : the savage warriors of Scythia issued from their forests ; and the uncommon severity of the winter" (the season in which natural hail and snow are generated) " allowed the poet to remark, that they rolled their ponderous waggons over the broad and icy back of the indignant river— The fertile fields of Phocis and Beotia were covered with a deluge of barbarians, who massacred the males of an age to bear arms, and drove away the beautiful females with the spoil and cattle of the flaming villages.” The whole territory of Athens was blasted by the baleful presence of Alaric ; and “the travellers, who visited Greece several years afterwards, could easily discover the deep and bloody traces of the march of the Goths.”+
Such were the first effects of the symbolical hail-storm. Having thus ravaged Greece, it was next carried into
# Rev. viii. 5. t." As the impatient Goths," says Mr. Gibbon, “ could only be restrained by the firm and temperate character of Theodosius, the public safety seemed to depend on the life and abilities of a single man." Hist. of Decline, Vol. iv. p. 443.
| Hist, of Decline and Fall, Vol. v. p. 176-181.
Italy and the West. Under the guidance of Alaric, it passed over Pannonia, Istria, and Venetia ; and threatened the destruction of imperial Rome herself. At length it was driven out of Italy by Stilicho.
Yet, scarcely was this part of the tempest dissipated, when another dark cloud,* generated like its fellow in the cold regions of the North, (so accurately does the symbol correspond with its antitype) burst in the year 406 upon the banks of the upper Danube, and thence passed on into Italy. Headed by Radagaisus, the northern Germans emigrated from their native land, besieged Florence, and threatened Rome. Stilicho however was again victorious; but the remnant of the vanquished host was still sufficient to invade and desolate the province of Gaul. “ The banke of the Rbine were crowned, like those of the Tiber, with elegant houses, and well cultivated farms. This scene of peace and plenty was suddenly changed into a desert ; and the prospect of the smoking ruins could alone distinguish the solitude of nature from the desolations of man. The flourishing city of Mentz was surprised and destroyed; and many thousand Christians were inhumanly massacred in the church. Worms perished, after a long and obstinate siege ; Strasburgh, Spires, Rheims, Tournay, Arras, Amiens, experienced the cruel oppression of the German yoke ; and the consuming flames of war spread from the banks of the Rhine over the greatest part of the seventeen provinces of Gaul. That rich and extensive country, as far as the ocean, the Alps, and the Pyrenees, was delivered to the barbarians ; who drove before them, in a promiscuous croud, the bishop, the senator, and the virgin, laden with the spoils of their houses and altars.”+
Meanwhile that part of the storm, which was directed by A laric, soon began to beat afresh. After the death
I have adopted the language of the bistorian. Unconscious that he was bearing his testimony to the truth of prophecy, he has used the self-same allegorical language as that employed by St. John. « The correspondence of nations,” says he, “ was in that age so imperfect and precarious, that the revolutions of the North might escape the knowledge of the court of Ravenna ; till the dark cloud, which was collected along the coast of the Baltic, burst in thunder upon the banks of the upper Danube." Hist. of Decline and Fall, Vol v. p. 214.
+ Hist. of Decline, Vol. v, p. 225.
of Stilicho, the Gothic sovereign again invaded Italy ; and Rome herself, after three successive sieges, was sacked by the northern barbarians.*
It is observable in literal storms of hail, that their violence appears for a season to subside, and afterwards to return with redoubled fury. This was exactly the case with the figurative tempest of Gothic invasion predicted in the Apocalypse. After the exploits of Alaric and Radagaisus had been achieved, the violence of the main body of the huil-storm abated, but its outskirts still continued to beat upon the more remote provinces of the Western empire. In the year 409, Spain was overrun and ravaged by the Suevi, the Vandals, and the Alans ; who were afterwards, in their turn, compelled to submit to the arms of the Goths. The Vandals however still prevailed in Gallicia : and, in order (as it were) that no part of the Rowan world should escape the devastating influence of the northern hail-storm, soon afterwards invaded the African province. In the year 429, they cro sed the Streights of Gibraltar under the command of Genseric, invited by the mistaken policy of Boniface. At that period the African coast was extremely populous, and the country itself so fruitful that it deserved the name of the common granury of Rome and of mankind. “On a sudden, the seven provinces, from Tangier to Tripoli, were overwhelmed by the invasion of the Vandals. War, in its fairest form, implies a perpetual violation of humanity and justice ; and the hostilities of barbarians are inflamed by the fierce and lawless spirit which incessantly disturbs their peaceful and domestic society. The Vandals, where they found resistance, seldom gave quarter ; and the deaths of their valiant countrymen were expiated by the ruin of the cities under whose walls they had fallen. Careless of the distinctions of age, or sex, or rank, they employed every species of indignity and torture, to force from the captives a discovery of their hidden wealth. The stern policy of Genseric justified his frequent examples of military execution : he was not always the master of his own passions, or of those of his followers ; and the calamities of war were aggravated by the licentiousness of the Moors, and the fanaticism of the Donatists."*
* Hist. of Decline, Vol. v.p. 184.329.
Ibid. p. 350--355,
Thus did the first great storm of hail lay waste the Roman empire. Collecting itself in the North, it burst over Greece and Italy ; ravaged Gaul and Spain ; and at length spent itself in Africa.
Scarcely was the fury of this tempest exhausted, when another no less destructive began to gather, as we perpetually behold one storm of bail rapidly succeed another. The Hungarian monarch Attila, having united in his own person the empire of Scythia and Germany, soon turned bis arins against the declining power of the Romans
In the year 441, he invaded the Eastern empire. “ The Illyrian frontier was covered by a line of castles and fortresses ; and, though the greatest part of them consisted only of a single tower with a small garrison, they were commonly sufficient to repel or to intercept the inroads of any enemy, who was ignorant of the art, and impatient of the delay, of a regular siege. But these slight obstacles were instantly swept away by the inundation of the Huns. They destroyed with fire and sword the populous cities of Sirmium and Singidunum, of Ratiara, and Marcianopolis, of Naissus and Sardica ; where every circumstance, in the discipline of the people and the construction of the buildings, had been gradually adapted to the sole purpose of defence. The whole breadth of Europe, as it extends above five hundred miles from the Euxine to the Hadriatic, was at once invaded, and occupied, and desolated, by the myriads of barbarians whom Attila led into the field-The armies of the Eastern empire were vanquished in three successive engagements; and the progress of Attila may be traced by the fields of battle-From the Hellespont to Thermopylæ and the suburbs of Constantinople he rayaged, without resistance and without mercy, the provinces of Thrace and Macedonia. Heraclea and Hadrianople might perhaps escape this dreadful irruption of the Huns ; but words, the most expressive of total extirpation and erasure, are applied to the calamities which they inflicted on seventy cities of the Eastern empire."* .
* Hist. of Decline, Vol. vi. p. 12-21.
A pause at length took place in the storm. In the year 446, the Constantinopolitan emperor concluded an ignominious peace with Attila : but, in the year 450, the restless Hun threatened alike both the East and the West.
“ Mankind,” says the historian, “awaited his decision with awful suspence.” The storm however now burst over Gaul and Italy. After ravaging the former of these countries with savage barbarity, Attila turned his arms toward the seat of the Western empirc. Aquileia made a vigorous but ineffectual resistance; and the succeeding generation could scarcely discover its ruins. The victorious barbarian "pursued his march ; and, as he passed, the cities of Altinum, Concordia, and Padua, were reduced into heaps of stones and ashes. The inland towns, Vicenza, Verona, and Bergamo, were exposed to the rapacious cruelty of the Huns ;" the rich plains of modern Lombardy were laid waste ; and the ferocious Attila boasted, that “the grass never grew on the spot where his horse had trod." Rome herself escaped : and, by the sudden death of Attila, his empire fell asunder, and the great northern storm of hail was dissipated. +
“ And the second angel sounded : and as it were a great mountain burning with fire was cast into the sea : and the third part of the sea became blood ; and the third part of the creatures, which were in the sea and had life, died ; and the third part of the ships were destroyed.”
The death of Attila took place in the year 453 ; and, with that event, the invasions of the Roman empire from the North, aptly symbolized by a storm of hail, were brought to a termination. The blast of the second trumpet introduces a new calamity from a directly opposite quarter of the world. What proceeds therefore from the South cannot with any propriety be represented by hail. Accordingly we find, that the contrary emblem of fire is used to describe it. A burning blast causes a great
* Hist. of Decline, Vol. vi. p. 45–53.
# Ibid. p. 87–135.